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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Contaminated polio vaccine: Millions may be infected with a monkey virus

    Posted by Reena Ganga

It's been revealed an Australian government agency knowingly released polio vaccine contaminated with a monkey virus back in the 1960s.

The simian virus, known as SV-40, has since been linked to a range of cancers, including mesothelioma - a deadly form of lung cancer (it's worth noting Australia has the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world).

Almost three million doses of contaminated vaccine are believed to have been released between 1956 and 1962, and an unknown number of earlier batches are thought to have been almost certainly contaminated.

Directors at the company involved - Commonwealth Serum Laboratories - knew from internal research that the monkey virus was a potential cause of cancer in humans, yet continued to release batches of the infected vaccine while the tests were being carried out.

Federal health authorities are now investigating the matter.

Read the full details in The Age.

Also see:

The cover-up
Medical reaction

Monkey virus contamination has also caused concern in the US. Read about it in New Scientist.

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